The great-granddaughter of the world-famous explorer and missionary Dr David Livingstone has viewed a diary by her renowned ancestor, never before seen by the public, ahead of the 200th anniversary of his birth.
Elspeth Murdoch, 84, from Buchlyvie in Stirlingshire, was born at a medical mission in Chitambo, Zambia, not far from where Dr Livingstone died in Africa.
She reviewed the pages from her great-grandfather's field diary of 1871 as she visited a special exhibition before it opens to the public at the National Trust for Scotland's David Livingstone Centre in Blantyre, South Lanarkshire - sited in the building where he was born.
The centrepiece to the Shining New Light on Livingstone exhibition is the diary which detailed the massacre of more than 400 Nyangwe villagers in the Congo by slave traders.
Despite running out of writing supplies, Dr Livingstone was so determined to record this incident that he made his own ink from plants and berries before scribbling on sheets of an old newspaper. The document, known as the Nyangwe Diary, has been unreadable for more than 140 years due to fading ink but the use of a cutting edge technique has revealed his words for the first time in more than a century.
The pages are the last written accounts by Livingstone until his famous encounter with journalist Henry Morton Stanley in November 1871 who greeted him with the phrase, "Dr Livingstone, I presume?" Two years later, on May 1 1873, Livingstone died from malaria in present-day Zambia.
As she previewed the original document of her great-grandfather's Ms Murdoch said: "I think it's amazing that this is his writing on a newspaper that we would never have thought we could read, but thanks to modern technology we can. I think it's wonderful and very impressive. I hope everyone else is equally impressed when they look at it and read it."
Ms Murdoch was also pleased that the exhibition of the pages will help prolong his legacy. She said: "I always want people to keep him in mind because he will always remain as one of our most important sons."
The exhibition is the result of an 18-month project in which the David Livingstone Centre (DLC) and National Library of Scotland worked in partnership with international experts, led by literature expert Dr Adrian S. Wisnicki. The experts used a technique known as spectral imaging to recover the original diary text. The process uses ultra-violet and infrared lights as well as high-resolution digital photography.
The DLC, which was awarded museum status in January this year, reopens to the public on Friday with Shining New Light on Livingstone launching on Tuesday March 19, the 200th anniversary of Dr Livingstone's birth. It is one of many events programmed as part of the David Livingstone 200 Project, where organisations and individuals worldwide celebrate the life of the renowned Scot. More information can be found online at www.davidlivingstone200.org/events